Books worth a look.
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3 min read

This story appears in the April 1997 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

If you don't initially agree with human development consultant Marlane Miller's theory that people don't change, don't worry: You're in good company.

"All my background in education, psychology, human and organizational behavior was about one thing: change," writes Miller in BrainStyles: Change Your Life Without Changing Who You Are (Simon & Schuster, $23 cloth). "Change the environment and you'll change the business and the people along with them. I trained people to make changes--to modify their behavior and learn new ways to lead and manage, to follow management models based on case studies of successful people."

Once she was brought in to improve teamwork among the employees at her husband's manufacturing company, however, Miller underwent something of a transformation. Rather than change people, Miller now believes the key to harmonious workplaces (and, for that matter, self-actualized individuals) is to learn to appreciate the different "brainstyles" each of us has.

What's a brainstyle? "An individual brainstyle is a whole pattern of strengths," Miller explains. "It is what you are naturally good at, can be counted on for, and what you love doing."

Throughout the book, Miller details each of the brainstyles she has isolated--from Knower to Deliberator. Both readable and insightful, BrainStyles is a good choice for entrepreneurs with staffing headaches.

Make It So

First, a confession: This reviewer has never watched so much as a single episode of either "Star Trek" or its follow-up series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Not only that, this reviewer has never attempted to catch any of the--how many were there, anyway?--"Star Trek" films in movie theaters. Trekkies be not insulted, though: This confession is offered only to put this review of Make It So: Leadership Lessons From Star Trek: The Next Generation (Pocket Books, $12 paper) in perspective.

And, fortunately, this particular non-Trekkie thinks even sci-fi illiterate entrepreneurs will benefit from reading Make It So. "As I began work on this book, little did I realize just how rich `Star Trek: The Next Generation' is in illustrating the timeless leadership qualities that are as indispensable for those who lead today as they will be for those who lead tomorrow," writes author Wess Roberts (in collaboration with Bill Ross).

So prepare yourself to follow in the footsteps of Captain Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Although a battle with the fiendish Borg may not be something you need worry about, Picard's handling of crew and crises alike makes for interesting case studies in leadership.

Investment Gurus

Investment books are getting to be a dime a dozen--so many to choose from, so little time. Among recent works, however, Investment Gurus: A Road Map to Wealth From the World's Best Money Managers (New York Institute of Finance, $24.95 cloth) deserves special mention. Author Peter J. Tanous takes a simple premise--that is, what do more than a dozen of the most renowned money managers have to say on the subject of investing?--and explores it to great effect.

Michael Price and Peter Lynch are two of the noteworthy gurus who preach to Tanous what they practice in real-world investing. It's not all advice you'll follow--indeed, not all the gurus take the same approach or believe the same things about investing--but you'll almost certainly finish the book with a better portfolio of knowledge than you had when you started. And, as a cliffhanger of sorts, Tanous waits until the end of Investment Gurus to recommend either an active or passive investing approach. (Hint: Whichever you guess, you're right--and wrong.)

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